GilmerFreePress.net

G-Editorial™

Editorial, Editorial Comments

Gabe Devono——Transparency, Accountability, and Full Disclosure Or Business As Usual?

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County still staggers from the State’s surprise seizure of our school system.  Existing law prevented disbanding of our elected school Board, but the State used tactics to do it anyway.

Who was responsible for how Gilmer County was treated by the State? In America there is a concept that terminal responsibility for operations of bureaucratic organizations rests with top leadership. That suggests that actions following the State’s seizure of our schools resulted from the State Board of Education’s orders, carried out dutifully by the superintendent it installed.

The State Board is presided over by Mrs. Joseph Manchin.  Even Governor Tomblin and members of both houses of the WV Legislature lack control over that Board. The alternative explanation for what happened to us is that the State Board authorized the superintendent to act autonomously.  Either way, the State Board cannot escape responsibility for causing our grief.

Some of the State’s actions following its seizure of Gilmer County’s schools are addressed below. The purpose for providing the information is to enable citizens to make up their own minds regarding responsibility for what occurred in the County.

The Gilmer Free Press


► Strict information control was imposed immediately after the State’s seizure to make it difficult if not impossible for the County’s citizens to keep informed of the State’s activities with our school system. This information clamp established the State as an adversary, not a partner to work in tandem with the County for school system improvements.


► All our Board’s authority except responsibility for approving field trips and participating in disciplinary hearings was voided.


► Our Board members were not allowed to have items on monthly meeting agendas to enable important concerns to be discussed to prevent citizen access to information, and our Board was forbidden to make motions and to vote on important issues affecting our schools.

The Gilmer Free Press


► The State assumed absolute control over spending of the County’s school budget without any local oversight.


► Our Board was refused any say in personnel decisions including hiring, riffing, promotions and reassignments within the school system. Some decisions made by the State have potential for decades of ramifications.


► Secrecy was imposed by the State for its dealings with internal school issues including alleged improper behavior by a male teacher with a school boy. This secrecy eroded public confidence that decisive measures will be taken by the State to deal with serious problems and to help prevent similar ones in the future.


► The public hungers for leadership changes at the high school where there have been chronic problems.  The superintendent seems to protect the leadership to contribute to the public’s belief that the preferential treatment originates from personal allegiances instead of being committed to doing what is best for the County.


► Explanations to the County were withheld regarding why a principal was hired who worked less than one month to remain on the payroll for the full extent of a contract. This blunder resulted in taxpayers paying for the same job twice when another principal was assigned.


► The State allowed a no bid contract for the Cedar Creek School to a firm that had performed questionably with work at the Linn bi-county school.


► The State failed its oversight responsibility for proper planning to ensure that cheaper natural gas would be used for the Cedar Creek School and the Linn School. This failure did not result in a full disclosure of projected increased costs for taxpayers over the life time of the two schools.


► The architectural firm the State hired for the Cedar Creek School failed to get a required federal permit. That mistake caused the County to be denied State school building money for the 2013 funding cycle. This delay has potential for severe financial consequences for the County should there be an expensive facility expense at an elementary school before the new school is opened.


► The State failed its oversight responsibility to ensure that the site study for the Linn School was adequate to cause potential for a landslide to be undetected and a construction delay occurred when the slide occurred.


► There was failure for the County to be informed of how much money it might have to pay for the landslide to be fixed and to pay for a reported purchase of additional private land it affected. Even if Gilmer County does not have to pay, the costs will be borne some way by WV taxpayers unless the architect pays.


► There was failure to officially inform the County how much money will reportedly have to be spent to purchase additional land at the Cedar Creek site because of inadequate planning by the same architectural firm that performed work for the Linn School.

The Gilmer Free Press


► The State resisted in informing our Board precisely how much money it controls for the 2014-15 year versus the State under terms of a so-called partial restoration of the Board’s authority for finances. What is the valid reason?


► The State expected our Board to approve actions that had already happened and the State had permitted, as if they were future actions. That suggested to citizens that our Board had potential for legal vulnerability if it falsified official records with the State’s prompting.


► There has been refusal to have informative news releases to keep the County informed of decisions affecting our school system.  Additionally, this failure had a harmful effect on our County Board. When questions were asked by citizens, typical responses that followed were that the information was unavailable from the State. That type of response made it seem that our Board members were either slackers as elected officials or worse yet they knew answers while collaborating with the State to avoid transparency.


► The State claimed that the site chosen for the Cedar Creek School was the only one suitable within our 217,600 acre County.


► Citizens were not informed of fees paid to the architectural firm for the Linn and Cedar Creek schools for original plans for using natural gas and the change of plans for not using that energy source. This caused questions to be asked if the firm was paid twice for design work when it should have been done correctly the first time if proper up front planning had occurred.


► The State failed to disclose purchase agreement terms for the Cedar Creek School site although Dr. Phares, the WV State Superintendent of Schools, promised that it would be made available to the County.


► Citizens were angered to contribute to widening distrust of State government when word circulated that they must bear an unreasonable price the State secretly agreed to pay for the rural and undeveloped Cedar Creek School land.

The Gilmer Free Press


► The State participated in the process for the initial selection of the auction barn land for a new consolidated school while a member of the County’s Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan Committee had an immediate family member with potential for personal financial gain had a school been constructed at the site.


► The State failed to inform the County have many children will be sent to Lewis County to attend the Linn School and long term financial consequences for the County were not disclosed.


► There was failure by the State to document how much better our schools are now than they were when the State seized control. The prevailing belief, based on reports of the State’s shaky management history in counties with seized school systems is that for any progress that may have occurred here, our dedicated and competent school administrators, teachers, and support personnel deserve full credit, not the State.


► Citizens understand that the County’s reserve money will be used to build the new Cedar Creek School, but the State has withheld information for the potential financial impact of using that money intended to be available to respond to emergencies.


► When the State seizes control of a County’s schools   enormous sums of money are spent on building programs without any local checks and balances, and someone makes lots of money. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to trace the money trail in Gilmer County and elsewhere where school systems are State controlled?


Mr. Gabe Devono cannot reverse everything that happened in Gilmer County under State control, but he has a clear choice. He either continues with business as usual to proceed with the State’s pattern of conduct or demonstrates that he is a fair administrator who will treat the County with full respect and transparency. The answer will be known soon. The choice is up to the State Board of Education assuming that our future treatment depends on orders Gabe Devono receives from that appointed body. A welcomed new start would be for the State to solve its communications problems while dispelling harmful rumors that may not be fact based.

G-Editorial™: IT TAKES A VILLAGE

The Gilmer Free Press

Annual Linkage meetings have been completed for all schools in the county.  At those meetings Principals, LSIC members, Teachers and Students presented the state of the state of Gilmer County Schools before the Board of Education and the public.

The Students are to be congratulated.  Each presenter was articulate, knowledgeable and captured the audience attention.  Did you know we have aspiring artists, journalists, rocket scientists, meteorologists, broadcasters, documentary film producers, story tellers and homemakers in Gilmer County? That we do and so much more to be very proud of.

The Teachers must receive credit for encouraging those young minds and letting them know that they can dream and achieve.  Both tenured and new are striving to make our schools a better place.  Are we working to support them?  That needs to be a question in the forefront when it comes to educating the children.  Teaching professionals need to know that their hard work is appreciated. With the introduction of new curriculum known as Common Core the task ahead will not get any easier.  We need and must support good Teachers.

Community attendance and interest was very evident at the Sand Fork, Troy and Normantown Elementary meetings. They were upbeat and positive as Principals spoke about their schools future goals and how fun the past year had been.  Unfortunately the numbers were very low at the two Glenville school meetings.  Is this indicative of a pocket of apathy or perhaps bad timing? Hope public participation improves next year.

It was disturbing that behavioral problems including high numbers of reported physical assaults were an issue reported at Glenville Elementary.  The Principal emphasized a need for an elementary alternative learning center to handle problems. One expulsion was documented.  There was also one reported at Troy.  However the Principal at Troy said they use a room across from the office as their alternative area to separate a problem child, get them refocused and prepared for return to the group setting. That is a proactive response geared to keeping a child in trouble within a peer setting that should be applauded. Gilmer County schools are not overstaffed.  It takes caring and quick thinking using the resources at hand to get it done.

Most are aware of incidents at the High School over the past year. The presentation was well done and very informative.  Incidents of discipline numbers decreased from the prior year but included documentation of 3 expulsions.  A local mother who will have a child entering High School next school year expressed serious concern and wanted to know what was being done about the bullying, bomb threats and drug busts.  She reported that State Police said there had been an arrest. This was confirmed by the Principal who stated there were others under investigation but it was an ongoing Police matter and could not be discussed.

The Gilmer Free Press


The Vice Principal and the State Superintendent voiced the opinion that these things happen at every school and went on to say that many times the first thing they hear of a problem is when the parent calls wanting something done about it.  Administrators were in agreement that Parents not taking enough responsibility for their child’s behavior was a contributing factor to the problems here. The Mother reminded them she could not be concerned about other schools, just the one her child attended and demanded to know what was being done. Then members of the Board Of Education spoke up, saying they had no knowledge of any expulsions in Gilmer County. Expulsion indicates total removal of a child from the school system and of those brought before the board this year none had been expelled. It was asked why they were not using the alternative learning experience at the Career Center rather than expel. The senior member stated “We do not throw our children away.” Shortly thereafter the meeting was adjourned.

Since there was no administrative explanation, no denial, the question remains who approved the expulsion of Gilmer County Children? Who is in charge?  By WV Code and advisement of the State BOE that is a function of the local board even under intervention..  No child is to be suspended beyond 10 days without being brought before the local board for hearing either in executive session or open public meeting as decided by their parent or legal guardian and may have an attorney present. They are entitled to due process under the law, not to be pushed around at the state’s discretion.‘’

To that end Parents must join together and stay involved guaranteeing not a single Gilmer County child will be tossed to the side. No one can do that but you.  Expulsion is a very serious matter that can set the tone for the rest of life.  It should be used only as a last resort. Nothing can be done to avoid it, no assistance provided when events are cloaked in secrecy.  Apparently you must insist upon being informed.  Information will not be offered. Attendance at all school meetings must become a priority.

State BOE, do not take arbitrary action behind closed doors. When it comes to how you treat the children here there can be no secret acts.  Protect the student name if the family wishes but follow your own rules and state laws.  Follow educated and well thought out procedures.  Do this for the only reason you exist,  Do this for the good of the children. Expulsion must not become a routine punishment. It solves no problems.  It shoves students in trouble out of the door, away from possible help and into a world they are obviously not prepared for. Gilmer County doesn’t give up on its children.

~~  The Gilmer Free Press ~~

Has Dr. Marple’s State Department of Education (DOE) Corrected Audit Deficiencies at The GCHS?

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County has wide support for an exit plan to be followed by Dr. Marple’s WVDOE to correct our school system’s deficiencies.

Adherence to a comprehensive, clearly understood plan would help ensure a more timely and efficient restoration of our schools to local control.

Under existing conditions the State has absolute authority to do as it pleases without any restrictions on when it gets done or how much it may cost.

If anyone questions need for an exit plan, Google WV OEPA and search the archives to access the State’s audit report for the County.

Interested citizens who have read the report have complained about its excessive ambiguity.

That communication failure by the State prevents citizens from being informed of specific remedial tasks which must be completed prior to restoration of our schools to local control.

Considering that most of the County’s students are enrolled at the GCHS it is assumed that a major proportion of the school system’s deficiencies were associated with that school’s administrative failures.

If the reasoning is valid, the State’s top priority should have been swift correction of the school’s deficiencies.

Samples of the deficiencies as understood from the State’s audit report are addressed below.


•  There were hiring practice failures including use of erroneous or incomplete matrices required for comparing qualifications of applicants when new employees were hired, and there was nonuse of a seven point matrix, as required by the State, to document and compare qualifications of all applicants to promote merit-based hiring. For one posted position there were 12 applicants, and comparative qualifications information was compiled for only two of them.


•  Incorrect job posting occurred for vacancies and this lack of adherence to the State’s requirements had potential to have prevented some qualified applicants from applying.


•  There were teacher qualification deficiencies for Spanish, French, physics, chemistry, English, algebra, applied math, human anatomy, and journalism.


•  Annual personnel evaluations as required by the State had not occurred.


•  There were numerous administrative deficiencies involving coaches. These included hiring without fulfillment of legally required background checks, improper authorization of an explained nature, expired authorization, lack of performance evaluations, and failure to define responsibilities for vacancies to hinder compliance with required job descriptions.


Could the referenced deficiencies and others at the GCHS, as reported by the State, have occurred if its principal had performed satisfactorily?

Also, is it reasonable to conclude that serious administrative failures at the high school contributed heavily to the State’s decision to takeover our school system?

It would be informative to know what kind of performance evaluation was received by GCHS’s principal after deficiencies in the State’s audit report were reported.

Also, when the principal was evaluated, did Mr. Ron Blankenship make constructive recommendations for an improved job performance?

Perhaps Dr. W. K. Simmons could report on the status of performance evaluation concerns.

Because of the right for the County’s citizens to have access to accurate information, Dr. Marple should report on specific progress, if any, in eliminating deficiencies at the GCHS in addition to other school system deficiencies addressed in the State’s audit report.

To promote fairness and accuracy, if there are misinterpretations of information in the State’s audit report as referenced in this posting, Dr. Jorea Marple and Mr. Ron Blankenship are invited to submit corrections to the Gilmer Free Press.

State-Wide Support Spreads For Gilmer County’s Battle With Dr. Marple’s Run Amuck DOE

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County, citizens throughout West Virginia support your struggle against the politically motivated surprise seizure of your schools by the DOE.

Your supporters know that the DOE’s unprovoked attack set a precedent of not giving your elected Board of Education time to address alleged problems within a prescribed time prior to a seizure.

The outcome of your struggle is critical with important implications for what will be done to get the State’s failed K-12 education system off its 48th place among the 50 states.

Unfortunately, the Charleston Gazette and other major hard copy newspapers have avoided stories about Gilmer County’s school system plight.

That pattern of neglect is being mitigated electronically with use of cell phones, e-mail, iPADs, Droids, Face Book, and iPhones.

Part of the State-wide citizen backed electronic offensive involves establishment of information dispensing nodes in various counties with an expanding network.

The message includes exposure of roles of Senator Joe Manchin’s family in contributing to the DOE’s dictatorial actions.

The Gilmer Free Press      The Gilmer Free Press


While governor, Senator Manchin demonstrated nepotism by appointing his wife Gayle to a $65,000 a year position with the State Board of Education that oversees the DOE.

She vehemently supported the seizure of your schools as proven by her videotaped attack against Gilmer County when the DOE intervened.

Her display of disdain for Gilmer County will be posted on U-Tube soon for all West Virginians to observe. Also, citizens will be reminded of WVU’s free degree scandal involving Senator Manchin’s daughter while he was Governor.

In addition to using electronic media as a force multiplier to increase the public’s demand for revamping Dr. Marple’s failed DOE, West Virginians are participating in forums in eight cities and the gatherings are sponsored by West Virginia’s Vision Shared organization.

The purpose of the forums is to obtain suggestions from citizens for critically needed changes to reverse the DOE’s failed performance including its arbitrary practices in seizing and administering county school systems.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin deserves respect from West Virginians for his courageous leadership in initiating the forums.

Negative publicity regarding the DOE’s ineptness in managing the State’s K-12 school system has caused more unwanted national ridicule to be focused on us, and much worse, the severe disaster has denied West Virginia’s children quality educations to enable them to compete better in today’s world economy.

The information blitz, designed to forge badly needed change with how the DOE operates, will empower voters to make wiser decisions at the polls in November.

Overall, the grass roots effort is a 21st century version of the axiom that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Instead of hard copy print inking out messages to West Virginians, electrons are getting that task achieved speedily with laser-like targeting.

Similar to the Revolutionary War naval hero, John Paul Jones, we have just begun to fight and it will continue with bulldog tenacity to achieve badly needed K-12 education reforms in Gilmer County and throughout our State.

CommunityAlert: Blankenship’s Advocacy for Purchase of Arbuckle Trust Land for Consolidated School

The Gilmer Free Press

I would like to thank Mr. Blankenship for allowing me to attend this meeting. – G. Dave Ramezan, The Gilmer Free Press

A CEFP meeting was conducted the evening of Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM in Gilmer County Schools Central Office at which purchasing of 73.9 acres of Arbuckle trust land on U.S. Hwy 33W/119S of Glenville, WV (on top of Glenville Hill about Auction Barn) for a new consolidated Gilmer Elementary School was discussed.

Mr. Ron Blankenship, the State appointed superintendent of Gilmer County schools, adamantly championed purchase of the land.


His position was counter to the points that:

A) There is inadequate proof that construction of a new consolidated grade school at the Arbuckle site is the best option for the County,

B) A thorough evaluation was not made to objectively choose a broader set of candidate sites from which to choose for a new school,

C) There is underrepresentation of citizens on the controversial CEFP committee involved in making the Arbuckle land purchase decision, and

D) There is no guarantee that if Arbuckle land was purchased by the County that the State would fund construction of a new school.


Supportive Arguments For Four Previously Listed Points:

Point A: With the foregone conclusion that the Lewis-Gilmer Elementary School will be constructed and Gilmer County children from that edge of the County, and reportedly children from the Sand Fork area will be bused to that school, if we need a new consolidated school we must evaluate where it should be located.

Point B: It is questionable to conclude with blind faith that the Arbuckle trust land is the best site for a new school when there are countless other sites available for consideration.  Any school child could use Google Earth to “fly” over the County to locate potential sites for a grade school. Mr. Blankenship rationalizes that a 70+ acre site is necessary for the eventual construction of three schools. How can he justify that conclusion given the County’s continual loss of population caused by our chronic lack of livable wage jobs? Then too, Mr. Blankenship justifies that use of eminent domain can be avoided if Arbuckle land is purchased.  Is that a good enough reason to purchase that land when the eminent domain provision is always a legal option when a development is in the best interests of the public?  Besides, it is understood that the appraised value of the Arbuckle land is $1,000 an acre (based on appraisal by a commercial property appraiser chosen by Mr. Blankenship after declaring the property commercial) but Mr. Blankenship settles for $1,400. Why, as a public servant, does he want to spend the public’s money that way when there may be a host of land owners willing to sell suitable land more reasonably for a new school or to even donate it for a worthy cause?

Point C:  It was reported that there was inter-personal strife among original CEFP committee members and a number of them elected not to participate leaving a small group behind to recommend land to purchase. Is it not true that two of the voting members in that remaining group had a vested interest in the Linn and Arbuckle sites because purchases would garner personal family gain?  In this regard, is it not factual that Mr. R. Terry Butcher, a local attorney and a partner of the Butcher and Butcher Law Firm, is one of two trustees for the Arbuckle trust and if that land were to be purchased he and his family would gain financially?

Point D: Mr. Blankenship proposes to use $115,000 of the County’s 1.2 million dollars of reserve money (Money saved for OPEB liability by Gilmer County Board of Education before takeover) to purchase the Arbuckle land (He noted since the state is going to take care of the OPEB liability, the money is no longer needed and can be used. He is also using this money to pay for 1/2 of over $300,000 for the 20 acres land being purchased for inter-county school. He mentioned the deed for this property should be ready to sign real soon). What if the State refuses to provide funding if the site is purchased? Is it likely that with the way the State takeover occurred with the ugly head of politics and under- the- table dealings, that Gilmer County citizens would ever pass a bond issue to fund a new school on the Arbuckle land? The worst case scenario would be for it to be purchased to remain idle off our tax rolls. Additionally, with existence of the County’s 1.2 million dollars of cash reserves, why would it not be wise to use some of it to shore up our existing schools until a professionally done, comprehensive plan could be formulated for ways to establish a truly superior K-12 school system in the County?  Then too, why is some of the reserve money not being used to hire a badly needed 5th grade teacher at Normantown and Troy that Mr. Blankenship promised citizens he would look into?


There were twelve(12) CEFP committee attendees at the meeting, and those seemingly in favor of the Arbuckle land purchase are indicated with a (+) mark after their names, ones seemed to be uncertain are marked with (+/-), those with no opinion (~), and those seemingly not in favor have a (–) entry (according to this reporter’s consensus and view in the meeting).

•  Ron Blankenship +

•  Dave Bishop +

•  Toni Bishop +/-

•  Nancy McVaney +/-

•  Sue Morris –

•  Nasia Butcher +

•  Betty Anderson +

•  Joe Frasure +

•  Martha Hicks +

•  John Bennett –

•  Connie Frame +

•  Connor Ferguson   ~

Of the twelve(12) CEFP members in attendance, eight(8) were current school system employees over whom Ron Blankenship exercised power, there was one(1) business person, two(2)  former school system employees, and one(1) school system student to comprise an underrepresented community’s profile.

However, a formal vote was not taken and Mr. Blankenship seemed to signal that without the authority of a majority vote to authorize the land purchase, he may make a decision unilaterally.  Also, he stipulated that if the land is purchased it must be done by July 12, 2012.

Regarding Sue Morris’s position, in all fairness to the widely admired philanthropist, she noted the land was not worth the price. She said the land has not done anything for past 20 years and will not do anything for the next 20 either. She also cited her husband as always saying that the land purchase was the best investment but again this land was too expensive and was not worth the price Mr. Blankenship wanted to pay. She also noted the county should not just spend the money because it is there. She said the money can be used for other functions.

The land on WV Hwy 5 W was noted as out of question because part of it is in the flood plain. With another on Camden Flats, Mr. Blankenship did not want to practice eminent domain. Finally, as a last option, the property across from the Auction Barn (Furr – McCartney) was mentioned citing not enough space.

Mr. Blankenship was not able to see a feasible land on one of his trips from Glenville to Normantown except in the Letter Gap area which he said was not big enough.

Finally, the CEFP Committee agreed to re-submit the application for the Gilmer Elementary School on Arbuckle property on November 01, 2012 to be decided by the SBA on April of 2013.


This quagmire leaves us with the question—of Gilmer County citizens how do we react?

Do we stand up united for ourselves and our children to stop this travesty or do we let the “elites” continue to exercise their absolute control?

The outcome is up to us, and fellow citizens throughout West Virginia are watching.

Mr. Heinlein From The WV Department Of Education Briefed Gilmer’s Citizens About School Takeover

image

Mr. Charles Heinlein From The WV Department Of Education Briefed Gilmer’s Citizens About School Takeover

On April 26, 2012 Mr. Charles Heinlein, Dr. Jorea Marple’s deputy, attended a meeting sponsored by the Gilmer Schools Coalition.

He addressed the State’s takeover of our schools, but he forcefully refused to elaborate on justifications for the takeover.

There was clarity that like it or not the State has control.

Also, Mr. Heinlein stated that our duly elected school board was rendered essentially powerless by the State’s decree and Mr. Blankenship represents the State.

The consequence is that normal checks and balances, essential elements for survival of a democracy, are suspended at the County level.

image


The Board’s authority to deal with issues including personnel actions, school facilities, finances, and other functions with the exception of responsibilities involving student discipline, expulsions and school trips were summarily removed.

Mr. Heinlein did not disclose the time line for returning the school system to local control or specifics regarding exactly how the Board can remove its deficiencies.

Other notable omissions included a failure of Mr. Heinlein to define specifics about how the State would work with the Board to provide needed services from Charleston to enable the Board’s authority to be restored expeditiously.

Numerous questions and concerns surfaced at the meeting.

The focus was opinions about the State’s failures including problems with honesty, deliberate avoidance of transparency, behind the scenes activity of a select few leading to the takeover, the State’s failure to give the County a chance to solve its problems prior to a takeover as was done for other counties, and the State’s deliberate blockage of information to keep citizens uninformed while secret takeover activities were underway.

image


One citizen asked Mr. Heinlein to cite one example of what Mr. Ron Blankenship had done during his tenure to be something which would not have been done otherwise and the question was unanswered.

There seemed to be a pervasive feeling among meeting attendees that what was cited as the State’s justification for taking over our school system was pure camouflage.

It was expressed that true reasons probably dealt with a long-term plan to consolidate counties.

That would result in regionalized court houses, law enforcement, K-12 schools, and other functions normal for a sovereign county.

The question is what can we do about our plight?

Our elected officials failed us miserably and our recourse as responsible citizens is to take decisive action at the ballot box.

Instead of complying with demands of the bosses for how we should vote, we can judge candidates on their proven ability, honesty, commitments to transparency, and their firm pledge to keep lines of communication open to prevent future deal making behind closed doors.

G-Editorial™: Challenge to Candidates for Gilmer County Magistrate - 2012 - Update

image

Update: 02.24.12

Due to request of so many of The Gilmer Free Press readers we have obtained the documents from the Gilmer County Clerk’s office under an FOIA request.

We like to thank Jean Butcher, the Gilmer County Clerk and Gerry Hough, the Gilmer County Prosecutor for FINALLY complying with the FOIA request.

Below you can see the complete documents.

To our reader : Thank you for your patience.

The Gilmer Free Press


=======================================


Chapter 50, Article 1, Section 4 of the West Virginia Code of Law specifies that, “each magistrate ... shall have a high school education or its equivalent.“

Questions have arisen as to whether all candidates that have filed for this office in Gilmer County meet the educational requirements provided by statute.

Therefore, in an effort to put the matter to rest and provide the voting public with documentation that all candidates for this position are indeed qualified to hold the post, we asked all candidates for Magistrate to submit to us proof that they meet the educational requirements of this position.


Following is the Result (in order received):


Carol Wolfe – Thank You

Click to See Document 1

Click to See Document 2

Click to See Document 3


Lori Rosenburg – Thank You

Click to See Document 1

Click to See Document 2


Alton Skinner – Thank You

Click to See Document


Bill Stalnaker – Thank You

Click to See Document


Mickey Metz – Did Not Provide Proof

Mr. Metz provided his proof to Gilmer Free Press after our last publication of this challenge. Due to his request not to publish it we did not do so and honor his request.

Following is the proof of education obtained under FOIA from Gilmer County Clerk’s Office which is public information:

Click to See the Document Obtain under FOIA Request

 

Again, we like to thank the candidates who provided their proof of eligibility for the office of Magistrate.

The Gilmer Free Press

G-Editorial™: Challenge to Candidates for Gilmer County Magistrate - 2012 - Result

image

Chapter 50, Article 1, Section 4 of the West Virginia Code of Law specifies that, “each magistrate ... shall have a high school education or its equivalent.“

Questions have arisen as to whether all candidates that have filed for this office in Gilmer County meet the educational requirements provided by statute.

Therefore, in an effort to put the matter to rest and provide the voting public with documentation that all candidates for this position are indeed qualified to hold the post, we asked all candidates for Magistrate to submit to us proof that they meet the educational requirements of this position.


Following is the Result (in order received):


Carol Wolfe – Thank You

Click to See Document 1

Click to See Document 2

Click to See Document 3


Lori Rosenburg – Thank You

Click to See Document 1

Click to See Document 2


Alton Skinner – Thank You

Click to See Document


Bill Stalnaker – Thank You

Click to See Document


Mickey Metz – Did Not Provide Proof

 

Again, we like to thank the candidates who provided their proof of eligibility for the office of Magistrate.

The Gilmer Free Press

G-Editorial™: Challenge to Candidates for Gilmer County Magistrate - 2012

image

Update: 02.06.12
We have received the proof of education from few candidates. For those you who have not supplied us with the proof please do so. The proofs will be published by the end of this week.


===========================


Chapter 50, Article 1, Section 4 of the West Virginia Code of Law specifies that, “each magistrate ... shall have a high school education or its equivalent.“

Questions have arisen as to whether all candidates that have filed for this office in Gilmer County meet the educational requirements provided by statute. We have been informed that the office of the Gilmer County Clerk has asked candidates to show proof that they meet the qualifications to assume this position, but that she is not sharing that information with the public.

Therefore, in an effort to put the matter to rest and provide the voting public with documentation that all candidates for this position are indeed qualified to hold the post, we are asking all candidates for Magistrate to submit to us proof that they meet the educational requirements of this position.

This can be done by submitting us a photo copy of diploma(s) earned, completed GED certificate to “tellus@gilmerfreepress.net”, or

By bringing the same to our office at 207 N. Lewis Street, Glenville, WV so that we can copy the documents to share with our readers.

Thank you,

The Gilmer Free Press

02.02.12

 

Gilmer County voters will be electing two magistrates and have two votes.

Current Magistrate Robert Minigh has chosen not to seek reelection. Incumbent and Democrat, Carol Wolfe is seeking reelection. Other candidates for Magistrate include Mickey Metz, Democrat; Alton Skinner III, Democrat; Bill Stalnaker, Democrat; and Lori Rosenburg, Republican.

As the May 08, 2012 election is the Primary Election, voters will be choosing their party nominees to be on the November General Election Ballot. As Rosenberg is the only Republican running, she will automatically be on the November ballot as an official candidate of her party. Democrats will choose between Wolfe, Metz, Skinner, and Stalnaker for the two nominees of their party to be on the November Ballot.

G-Editorial™: Demonstration of Courage and Leadership

image

Occasionally, actions of elected officials merit profound praise, admiration, and respect.

Democratically elected officials consisting of Skinner, Starkey, and Pritt [1] earned that distinction.

They pleaded for federal intervention to investigate inequities associated with the State’s unjustified seizure of our schools [2].

They did not waiver because their authority was stripped by the State, and they certainly did not succumb to biddings of the County’s rich and powerful.

Instead, as highly principled officials they took the moral high road.

After the State’s surprise seizure of our schools we know that justifications were fabricated to serve interests of a minority in the County who curried favor with Charleston’s politicians.

What is the evidence?

Ask yourselves what tangible changes have occurred after the State’s seizure to prove that our children will receive better educations, our school facilities are safer, our children will get better protection in a more nurturing learning environment, and taxpayers will get the most for their investments?

After considering facts, how is it possible to answer with anything other than a strident NO!

Citizens are not even given progress reports or plans for the future by Blankenship [3] or Marple [4].

The two individuals also refuse to disclose criteria they will apply in determining when to return the school system to local control.

The evidence supports the belief that State officials in control consider Gilmer County’s citizens unworthy of respectful treatment.

It is especially disturbing that Blankenship and Marple have been silent about the scandal involving allegations of a Gilmer County High School teacher’s improper behavior with an innocent child [5].

What do they intend to do about that?

Their stone cold silence suggests that they simply do not care.

It is unknown what action federal authorities may take in response to the plea from the three school board members.

Regardless of what happens we, the citizens of Gilmer County must band together to fight tirelessly for the welfare and safety of our children.

With involvement of Skinner, Pritt, and Starkey, and Gilmer Schools Coalition (GSC) we have a better chance to make our voices heard to help forge better lives for our children.

The children know about problems with the school system and they wait with wide open eyes to observe what we, the adults will do.

To remain passive is an unviable option and our unified action is the obvious choice.

Gilmer County has suffered from bondage too long by the rich and powerful and through focused unity we can reverse the repression by being assertive for our self- interests and far more importantly those of vulnerable children.


[1] Gilmer County Democratically Elected Board of Education: Pritt – President, Skinner – Member, Starkey – Member.

[2] State’s unjustified seizure of our schools video

[3] Ronlad Blankenship: Gilmer County Schools Superintendent – appointed by WVDE

[4] Jorea M. Marple – WV Superintendent of Schools

[5] Printable arrest warrent for GCHS teacher

G-Editorial™: Bullies at Administrative Level in Our Schools

image

Any Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools should take bullying seriously these days by developing prevention activities and dealing with issues quickly and with certainty with those who cross the line regardless of who they are.

But what if the bully is the administrator?

Administrators are supposed to be role models and their behavior affects the entire school. Most of our local administrators take that responsibility seriously and their behavior is exemplary. However, a few believe they can get their way by publicly challenging, verbally abusing or even threatening their colleagues, staff, prior superintendent, future superintendents, and the local board of education.

While some bullies may be physically threatening, size or gender doesn’t make a difference.

Administrative bullies make life miserable for the teachers and staff. They insult staff and teachers and seem to be in attack mode all the time. They ensure the community will have little respect for the entire school system.

As a teacher, staff, or parent we can be in for a rough time when a bully administrator is present. But when that administrator’s behavior affects teachers and staff’s ability to do their job and undermines faculty morale, the board of education and the superintendent need to take action.

Isn’t it time for the state board of education (since they made the local board powerless) along with their superintendent to call the errant administrator and tell him or her about the issues affecting teacher’s and staff’s ability to lead? Shouldn’t there be repercussions of the errant behavior? How long are we willing to let it go?

On several issues, some administrator bully’s behavior has stepped over the line legally. How long are the state appointed superintendent and the entire state board going to ignore the legal implications of such behavior?

Too often, the state board’s silence can give the mistaken impression that the state board is condoning the behavior. That should not be allowed to happen. The state board can affirm a code of ethics, develop ground rules, and publicly state that administrative bullying is not acceptable in our county.

The community often judges the school system by the actions of the board of education (in Gilmer County’s case the state board since they removed the power from local board), so a poorly performing board telegraphs a negative image to the rest of the community.

Besides hurting the schools in the public eye, it also undermines the board’s credibility with teachers, staff, parents, and if allowed to go unchecked, can have a negative impact on the children in our schools.

The West Virginia Board of Education needs to deal with it as quickly and effectively as possible.

G-Editorial™: SCHOOL CRISIS TIPPING POINT?

image

The most recent high school scandal emphasizes need for a new approach to apply to correct our school system crisis.

It is futile to expect Ron Blankenship to aid us.

He seems oblivious to need to correct serious problems, he has not issued a strict no-tolerance policy for employee misconduct, and our democratically elected school board officials can’t act because the State striped away their powers without any guideline and expectation to meet to reverse their roll.

What can we do?

Our situation is not dissimilar to that of a third world country subjected to repression by a clique.

In those countries there is a succession of citizen behavior and eventually positive changes occur.

The sequence of events is initiated by a long period of repression with mass discontent followed by a second stage when citizens begin voicing open opposition.

As conditions worsen a strong leader eventually emerges to bond citizens together as a cohesive counter force to alter history.

We are at the stage in Gilmer County when we need that strong leader.

Why not form a parent and teacher organization to counter what has happened to us and to install a leader to spearhead our cause?

He or she could take our battle to Charleston and to engage assistance from federal agencies with authority to aid us.

Those of us in the majority who loathe what is occurring in our school system are superior in numbers compared to the opposition, we have the moral high ground, and through organizing with an effective leader we would prevail.

Continuing with our disorganized mode in responding to the crisis would please those unreceptive to our pleas for better educations for our children.

G-Editorial™: OEPA REPORT and the True Facts! Hough’s Ad in Democrat Was NOT FACTUAL

image

The OEPA report is representative of and demonstrates the facts involving what Ramco Technologies tried for 3-years to communicate to the Board—and further went to great efforts to convince the Superintendent that his decisions were WRONG!

John Bennett allowed those who know NOTHING about technology to make decisions and destroy what progress was made with the little money available to keep the technology up to date.

Ramco Technologies, although asked by the board, to bid for the contract REFUSED TO BID, unless the conditions leading to the destruction of technology infrastructure were corrected.  RAMCO was not interested in any contract that would simply throw good money away on mediocre technology.

image


RAMCO TECHNOLOGIES REFUSED TO BID AND THE GLENVILLE DEMOCRAT AND GERRY HOUGH PURPOSELY MISLED THE CITIZENS AND SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR KNOWINGLY MISLEADING THE PUBLIC FOR POLITICAL GAIN.

Ramco Technologies DID NOT BID, because a key factor was that there was a lack of LEADERSHIP in the system to make good technology decisions.

The track record for bad decisions involving technology in the school system was long and sad.

Ramco Technologies had performed technology service involving computer systems, networks, electronics, training, and more for about 20 years with the annual payment ranging from $9,600 to $26,000.

Ramco Technologies provided full service 24/7/365. This full service provided was done WITHOUT any other compensation for tools, test equipment, computers/laptop, mileage for travel, insurance, medical benefits, and retirement benefits.

Despite these hardships, Ramco Technologies guaranteed the service and work.

Ramco Technologies often purchased needed software at its own expense to maintain and upkeep the system. Ramco DONATED labor, hardware, software, operation expenses –that included numerous benefits provided to the school board.

Ramco technologies performed these needed functions for the good of the community since Ramco technologies is a local business, with family that are from and reside in the community.

Ramco Technologies often installed needed parts without any charge as part of the contract not because it had to, but rather out of a service to the community – Board Members and some Principals can testify to this.

Ramco Technologies fixed equipment and maintained a 99.99% up-keep. If anything was down at any time, it was because Ramco was not told about it.

But that changed because a few administrators who knew nothing about technology and the system, decided they knew it all.

This led to many miscommunications during this service, due to missed communications between management or among board members and school authorities.

During the bidding process, the board and superintendent did not want to change the conditions that led to the technology disaster and told RAMCO TECHNOLOGIES it could not bid more than $25,000 because that was all they could afford. Since Ramco had performed well with track record –with out of pocket service, this act by the board and the superintendent was certainly uncalled for and unbecoming of proper standards in good business relations.

However, at the same time, the superintendent asked the board to approve bids of $28,000 plus—- for 20-hours and/or 4-days a week service, to others who had no previous performance history or who earned top standards of good up-keep and exemplary service with updated products.  Computer systems in modern times need periodic updates, and qualification and dedication is a significant factor when considering outside service.

Fortunately, the board did not act on these less experienced contractors or approve the bids – mostly for the reason of prior negative experiences or bad track records of those specific vendors recommended by the superintendent.

Unfortunately, the reasons for Ramco NOT BIDDING, involved the refusal of the Superintendent to properly address the technology concerns, in which he cited lack of knowledge in that area.

Further, the Superintendent refused to follow the Boards instruction multiple times, and suggested the hiring of outside contractors to perform those duties!!

image


This suggestion was puzzling given the fact there were many more qualified people in the community. The Superintendent suggested hiring a person who first had to be trained for a near $50,000 yearly salary—- which was far above the original budget, and then acted on that decision with little or no explanation!

This NEW DEAL, previously not announced or advertised included ALL the benefits that further included dental, eye-care, and retirement.

The salary with the job description made for a 40-hour a week, about 225 days a year and NO Guarantee of the work, but surprisingly included a hefty expense package for local travel and equipment needed to repair.

image


People of Gilmer County should know that Ramco Technologies always FIXED the problems according to teachers’ and staff’s needs. But now, according to the Superintendent himself, two Board Members, many teachers and staff, the solution to every problem is to either erase the systems or replace them, which has proven to be counter-productive to all the years and all the expense involved to keep the current system functioning at a satisfactory level.

Some of the Teachers’ computers have been erased without the teachers’ knowledge and often teachers have lost data they had, some for up to 7-years. This type of damage and loss of data should never occur, but it is simply par for the course now!

Many Systems are sitting around for months not fixed, or installed. If a teacher really complains, the technology director stops the legitimate complaint by saying:

“Don’t worry, we will get you a new one, we have money!”

This quote had been verified by several staff members and teachers who still contact Ramco Technologies for assistance and wish they had the Ramco service once more since the service was reliable and above normal standards.

image


In the OEPA report, the reference to Ramco could be somewhat mis-leading.

Ramco technologies provided invoices for the work performed without a contract and the invoices were given to the superintendent in a timely manner.

The superintendent did not act on the invoice for weeks and months at a time, and then reported them lost.

And then they were found!

It was a continuous merry-go-round of delay tactics orchestrated by none-other than the technology director, and was allowed to continue by the Superintendent!

All invoices provided by Ramco had full details, but apparently the purchase order created improperly afterwards must not have.

The entire matter was extremely unprofessional, costly and time consuming and amounted to a complete business disaster if one was desirous of making any kind of profit for which there was none!

All of this hardship for Ramco Technologies occurred at a time when the superintendent, technology director, and a principal kept presenting vague questionable invoices without any details and no-bid contracts citing lack of time and loss of funds (by design) if the board did not act upon important matters, and the list goes on.

image


The School Board often asked questions, but got a typical…

“I am not sure, I will check on it,” answer from the superintendent or blamed a secretary.

Nonetheless, the Board always approved the questionable purchases.

 


Now to Our Gilmer County Prosecutor:

image


Did Gerald B Hough do his Research and obtain CORRECT information?

Hough, according to his ad in the Glenville Democrat, has revealed his racist, slanderous, and libelous side.  A side that a prosecutor cannot afford to have.

Hough complains about citizens abusing free speech from one side of his mouth while he actually commits acts of racial hatred making Hough the very definition of a hypocrite!

Gerry Hough, with a Bible under his arm, offered $1 for one third of a landowner’s property, and then threatened that person with eminent domain without the knowledge of the Gilmer County PSD,—while he himself collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money for a piece of trashy property at the slip in hays city in Glenville. (Just ask Mr. R. Terry Butcher, Thrasher Engineers, and The Gilmer county PSD).

Hough allows the needy to live in trashy filthy places, while collecting hefty rents from HUD!  In addition to what HUD pays him for rent, he demands additional rent from the impoverished renter.  Should Mr. Hough add the title “Slum Lord” to his resume?

Hough created a fake invoice for $16,000 in a matter of 15 minutes for the purpose of ILLEGALLY overcharging a local business for work done without justification for his client – and then practicing private law, while getting paid to be a prosecutor, which is a clear conflict of interest and Hough needs to be reported to office of disciplinary Counsel. (Just ask Mr. R Terry Butcher).

HOUGH was not prepared in a breaking and entering case after the Gilmer County Sheriff Deputy gave him the list of about $10,000 worth of damage, and then by the victim when he asked for it again because he lost the first one – and then, after all that – the list was dismissed because HOUGH forgot to present it properly to the court.

Hough thought there was a lot money to be made in the internet business and decided to go against Ramco Technologies by deceiving friends into contributing a lot of money without a proper business plan or the knowledge in that field, and then embark on a business venture without doing any proper research on the matter and the knowledge necessary.

Hough brought in an inexperienced, uneducated business partner without any knowledge or prior experience in the field; all because he saw an employee at Ramco had purchased a sports car and said there is money to be made and I got to have it. Now how ridiculous is all that?

Gerald B Hough called me a terrorist and member of Al-Qaeda, and then communicated this to a Gilmer County Magistrate and the previous magistrate secretary when he discovered we had purchased our farm.

Hough could not make any money in the internet business because of his lack of knowledge and business savvy, so he figured if he could not do it, no one could, and I must be getting help from Osama Bin Laden himself in order to buy a farm in Gilmer County.

Gerry Hough wanted all the success for himself. If he wanted the technology contract he could have merely underbid the competitor, but that was not profitable enough.  He chose a more sordid path by attempting to destroy the competitor’s business reputation. Hough and business partner pressured the BOE to give them the contract, but at the time, the board did not have to bid it out.

People in general may be able to get away with saying what they like whether it be racist or not, but a prosecutor does not have that luxury, nor should he.

People who express legitimate concerns or question actions of public officials are labeled “terrorists” by Hough.

In modern day AMERICA, this insulting and racist action by Hough as a prosecuting attorney is despicable!

Hough abuses his position as prosecutor and often acts illegally with NO CONSIDERATION for the law, and then scares and terrorizes people with the threat of jail.

Hough has yet to give us any result in regard to his call for the special investigation of Freddie Hill and “No Foul Play!”

Was there an investigation, or did Hough lie again?

Hough has not explained to the public about election irregularity in Gilmer County under his watch!

Hough has not done anything about the missing and then re-appearing properties during the previous Gilmer County Clerk’s term, where two Gilmer County Commissioners admit to the wrongdoing and call it a simple mistake. Hough did this to cover up a crime. It is not simple mistake when the missing property was part of a felony trial that Hough brought that was false. It is ABSURD to call the matter a simple mistake and actionable.

Hough tells the police officials to stretch and delay complaints of wrongdoing as long as they can.  Is this the type of man you would call “good” and “just”?

 


As for Our Local Newspaper Editor:

image


Apparently, the editor is desperate to fill space and sell his paper.  Fortunately, The Gilmer Free Press has become the number one source for articles and ideas for local newspaper to copy (Even by Democrat’s own Survey - Below).  How does a newspaper get free County-Wide Broadband service while taxpayers cannot?  Simply lie to the readers about broadband coverage and advertise it in the newspaper.

Has Mr. Corcoran become a liability to the community instead of an asset?

 

image

HOUGH AND CORCORAN LIED IN THE 26 MAY 2011 EDITION OF THE DEMOCRAT AND BOTH OF THEM NEED TO PUBLISH A CORRECTION OR FACE POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION!!


To Gerald B Hough and Dave Corcoran, stop your false rhetoric and get your facts straight:

RAMCO TECHNOLOGIES DID NOT LOSE ITS CONTRACT. RAMCO TECHOLOGIES REFUSED TO BID BECAUSE OF BAD DECISIONS MADE BY THE LEADERSHIP WHO HAD NO CLUE ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND WERE MORE INTERESTED IN HAVING IT THEIR WAY IN ORDER TO ABUSE THE SYSTEM ALL THEY COULD WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING.

 

And Finally:

The Gilmer Free Press is just the messenger of citizens. The citizens have been able to express their opinions here where they could not do it before in this county. GFP requires and knows the identity of all the authors. Some remain Anonymous from fear of retribution from people who are in power and have the abusive power to make life miserable for them.

A good example of this abusive power was demonstrated just recently by Gerry Hough!

Hough is abusing his power by threats, and then threatens any person with jail that brings out the truth of wrongdoing through evidence—as was just witnessed when he was found to be guilty of subornation of perjury.

Hough was proven guilty of perjury via a title opinion which is a valid court document and by all rights Hough should have gone to jail for conspiracy.

 

Message to Mr. Hough….

You see Mr. Hough, if you just read the WV Department of Education OEPA report, you can easily see, all the citizens comments in relation to the educational system issues, have come true and are verified. As for the rest of the issues, the time is coming. So please quit using your position to threaten and create hardship for the citizens of Gilmer County as you have been known to do in the past. Clearly, the citizens are unhappy you are in office, because you have proven to be a dishonest man that can’t be trusted.

Gilmer County Citizens are NOT stupid! So don’t try to feed them lies!!

We are SICK of your lies and false allegations Mr. Hough!


I would like to invite you, on behalf of the citizens of Gilmer County, to a public forum with all expenses paid by the Gilmer Free Press, so you can tell the community your side publicly and they can ask their questions and get answers in a civil manner. Their tax dollars are paying you, and you owe it to them. It is time to make some changes, and one of those changes should be GERALD B HOUGH.

Please let us know and we can make all the arrangements.  Thank you

G. Dave Ramezan
The Gilmer Free Press
Ramco Technologies


PS. Mr. Hough you DO NOT have permission to copy or quote this information and publish it on your Retort of the Ghost Wolf site nor does Mr. Corcoran have permission to use it in his newspaper.

image

G-EC: The Gilmer Free Press Submission Policy

image

In the spirit of a TRUE DEMOCRACY, The Gilmer Free Press DOES list submissions as Anonymous.

Based on hundreds of correspondence to The Gilmer Free Press stating concerns about the existing community political atmosphere, we feel it is important to do this as a service to our readers and for greater good of our community.

Citizens have shown concern and are afraid of possible retaliation to them and or their family members if and when they express their true opinion.

We feel it is so sad, especially in a little piece of this Great America, that these feelings have been created in our community whether it is true or not.

It is not a good idea to create any more obstacles for the taxpaying citizens than already exists.

There has also been a BIG FAILURE to inform our citizens by local media by catering specific groups and we feel everyone needs to work hard to change this.

Additionally, when community leaders fail to answer the community concerns and respond to their questions openly, they are absolutely not helping the cause. They are actually making matters worse.

In order for a submission to be posted anonymously, The Gilmer Free Press DOES require, the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address, if any, from the authors.

This information will not be published and will be kept confidential by The Gilmer Free Press.

All the conditions set forth in The Gilmer Free Press’ Site Policy always apply.

We find it strange that the very people who complain about anonymous listings are the ones who refuse to give The Gilmer Free Press their true names, and e-mail addresses.

Again, providing fake information keeps your opinion / comment from publishing. Therefore, please do not waste your time sending us comments if we cannot verify you.

The Gilmer Free Press activates ALL Comments if they are verifiable.

G-EC: Bullying GFP in Public Meeting and Attack on Free Speech

image

The Gilmer Free Press (GFP) was bullied on Tuesday April 05, 2011 at the Gilmer County Commission Meeting.

After the meeting was called to order, Mr. Larry Chapman, the out-voted previous Gilmer County Commission President, entered the room, disregarding the rules of order, put his name on the sign-up sheet below others, took his jacket off,  threw it on the chair, and publically verbally attacked the GFP reporter.

Chapman demanded the Commissioners create a resolution forcing GFP to submit names of everyone who had responded to the article about the unusual method by which he created and hired himself for a part time position for Gilmer County Economic Development Association.

Stunned and speechless the commissioners listened while Chapman threatened GFP to provide the names and accused GFP of Slander.

The Gilmer Free Press Reporter told Chapman his complaint had nothing to do with the commission meeting and business.

Chapman told the Commissioners he did not like GFP allowing Anonymous comments, and then accused the Gilmer Free Press of doing something wrong. GFP responded to Chapman, he needed to look further than Gilmer County and see the practice is common everywhere and not new to GFP. Reporter added “it seems what IS common in Gilmer County, is the attempts to control the media and free speech by a few.”

Chapman again demanded the names of anonymous postings to GFP, but again his request was denied on the grounds that the purpose for anonymous postings was to protect the authors of the response from threats and retaliation.  GFP told Chapman his action was one of the reasons the citizens of Gilmer County deserved protection.

GFP defends, as always ,the author’s right to anonymity (See the site Policy).

GFP informed Chapman that the author of the article had invited his response, but he chose not to reply and take this action instead.

Multiple times Chapman was reminded of his right by GFP to set the record straight once and for all by submitting a response to the article.

After multiple requests by the Gilmer Free Press, the comment below is the response from Mr. Chapman regarding the Letter to Editor and the comments.

Finally, the Gilmer Free Press would like to apologize to the Commissioners and those present on behalf of Mr. Chapman for interrupting the meeting with his bullying action out of order, and out of place.

~~  Larry Chapman’s Comment ~~

Extension Service Invoice for Books Purchased

An invoice, approved for payment by the extension service agent, for books, was presented to the County Commission for payment. Three sets of commissioner’s eyes did not identify the questionable nature of the books. After being brought to our attention and meeting with the Extension Service Committee, the Commissioners agreed and did personally refund cost of books back to the Extension Service. Also, it should be noted, that after becoming aware of the program and the books contents, the Extension Service Committee banished the program of which they were to be used.


Medical Center

The County Commission never almost gave the Medical Center away, quite the contrary. After learning the Medical Center Board of Trustees had inadvertently agreed to a long term lease whereby allowing Minnie Hamilton to utilize the front lawn for parking, the Commission interceded by notifying both parties that the lease was null and void. Per State Code, only the County Commission could enter into long-term leases related to county owned property. The County Commission entered open discussion with Minnie Hamilton concerning their lease request. A lease agreement was never reached during my Commission tenure.


Goodwin Hall, Glenville State College

The County Commission approved this bond issue after we were assured of no financial exposure for Gilmer County citizens. County citizens did come and speak at public meetings as well as receiving legal advice from local attorneys, bond council attorneys and bank attorneys.


No Bid Contracts

You are referring to a time when the Recreation Center Pool was about to slip over the hill. The County Commission immediately called our Insurance Company Representative who sent an engineer to address the situation. It was recommended by the engineer to move swiftly or jeopardize losing the pool. After contacting Auditors Office explaining our dilemma, we were allowed to move immediately without bid process. The County Commission hired local contractors who came forthwith and the pool was saved.


Election Complaint and County Clerk being sued in Federal Court

I never knowingly denied these charges.


Gilmer County Economic Development Association

The GCEDA Board Members are not appointed by the County Commission. It is a non-profit organization. The board of directors are nominated and voted in by paid members. Membership in the organization is open to the public. The members nominate and elect five directors to a three year term the first of every year. All board of directors serve voluntarily. Seated directors may fill a vacancy between annual meetings per their bylaws. I have served on the GCEDA Board for many years as a member and as an officer. The Board took action in February to advertise and hire a Coordinator. I applied for the position. I took no part in preparing the job description, the pay scale, advertising of the position, the interviews or the selection. I was not informed of who applied or who was interviewed for the job. All legalities were followed.

Free Press Classified Ads

For YOU...By YOU

West Virginia

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

National

Politics

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

International

Arts & Entertainment

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

Financial|Business

Sports

Living

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

Opinions

Outdoors

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

Technology & Science

Events & Announcements

G-Editorial™

G-Editorial™

Obituaries

Reader's Comments

G-Editorial™

Readers' Recent Comments

After the ipads were purchased what measurable benefits resulted from having them at the GCHS to improve student learning? Does anyone know?

Was a formal plan followed to maximize benefits from the equipment to include provisions for measuring before-and-after results to evaluate if the equipment did any good?

Another case of throwing money at a problem and after spending it taxpayers have no idea if there were any meaningful benefits for students?

More than likely competitive bidding was not used to purchase the ipads to add another wrinkle.

By Did The ipads Improve Learning Results? on 03.13.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Where oh where did the 200 Gilmer County I-pads go?
Were they bought with federal money?
Attorney General Morrisey are you looking into this?
Someone should get the ball rolling?

By where oh where? on 03.12.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

They is not no flood plane there the water dont get up there i know i catch musk rats in the river

By THE TRUTH WATCHER on 03.08.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Gilmer County’s school board has full authority to demand a comprehensive accounting for every dime spent on everything leading up to site selection and construction of the LCES and the GCES.

Where did the money go and who got it to include naming names and companies on the receiving end?

Stop hiding behind the excuse that the State “did it to us” and assemble the true facts for taxpayers!

What is the defensible rational for failure of the school board to follow up on this?

By Disclose Financial Facts on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

What was in the school board’s 451 resolution? As important as education is more effort should be taken to flesh out what actually happens at school board meeting. Bare minimum information and lack of transparency skirt accountability. Who is responsible for writing up the minutes?

By Transparency and Accountability Needed on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The new Gilmer County Elementary school was built
in a flood plane.  Education fail.

By YOU FORGET on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Roads are a mess.
Population continues the 50+ year decrease.

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

Grand finale in Charleston.
We have a brawl in the Capitol Building.

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Broadband coming?  Think we heard this before?
How many times?  I’ve lost count.  You remember?

This will be like JimmyBoys “roads to prosperity” program?
Take the citizens money?  Give ‘em nothing.

Republicans. Democrats. All the same political bs from both.
Voters believe them.  Keep bringing back the old mules so they can give us a repeat performance.

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Jimmy D, Gilmer County needs a full accounting for every dime spent on school site planning and studies, site preparation, all school construction work, and purchases while the State had us intervened.

For one example of many we do not have an itemized accounting for how our funds were spent on the botched LCES project.

How much more was wasted on the auction barn site, the dropped Cedar Creek site, and the GCES in comparison to what could have been done with our money with full transparency, competent planning, competitive bidding, and proper project oversight?

The fact that the GCES was built too small and the LCES was built too large is one facet of the waste and mismanagement that occurred.

Do not expect valid investigations because WV’s standard approach is cover up when the State is involved.

By Jimmy D--Don't Expect Sunshine on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Saw the GFP video (citizens refer to it as the ambush video) at the school board meeting at which the pitch was made for the new computers.

The GCHS principal and staff talked about wonders to expect if the 200 computers would be purchased.

Promises were made that if the kids got them they would learn to do advanced math and to make other marvelous learning advances. Any evidence of the promises being kept?

Were the computers purchased through competitive biding? Wanna bet that they were not?

Is this another example of throwing money at technology with no meaningful plan for how to use the equipment to maximize learning benefits without evidence of any before-and-after testing to accurately determine if they did any good?

Could the 200 computers be located and what condition are they in if they could be found?

The new school board is encouraged to check on the issues and to report on the findings.

By Accountability For New GCHS Computers on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Since the local prosecutor is good for nothing, why doesn’t the federal prosecutors look into all the theft by Gabe DeVano and his buddies during the time Gilmer county was under state control? They stole money, equipment from schools which closed, as well as technology equipment. for example where did the 200 iPads go which gilmer county paid for?

By Jimmy D on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A major cause of WV’s dismal record with K-12 education is the lack of choice regarding a parent’s right to decide on the school for a child to attend.

The elite get around that by using private schools for their kids.

Under existing conditions what chance do the rest of us have? The answer is none!

Our kids are victimized because competition and accountability do not exist and that is exactly what WV’s entrenched education establishment and the unions want.

By Save WV's School Children on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Pennybaker is correct.
WV educators keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Whats the definition of insanity?

By Gilmer on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

An off grid system works great if you want to live like a hippie. One can cover their entire roof and it will barely power your lighting and a few electronics, let alone our transportation and industrial needs. The humaniacs now complain that the giant windmill blades kill the little birdies, and they have never solved the overpass problem in putting windmills on out autos.

By Vern Windsong on 03.01.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It amazes me that the so-called “experts” think more and more centralization will improve anything.  Public school education is in terrible condition and doing more consolidation will only make it worse and more expensive.  With all the technology today, there is NO reason for busing children for miles and miles, spending more and more hours under the control of public schools.  The idea that parents are not capable of deciding how to educate their children is insulting.  There was never any good reason for governments to get involved in education.

By Karen Pennebaker on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Pat, your information is outdated. Solar and wind are increasingly outcompeting fossil fuels, despite the heavy subsidies fossil fuels (and nuclear power) get. They also are getting steadily cheaper, while fossil fuels can be expected to rise as supply diminishes—the pipelines are going in so fast because of the NEED of the gas companies to get their product out to where they HOPE to find better prices—the drillers have been steadily losing money for the whole decade of the fracking “miracle.“ Wall Street is becoming skeptical. The thing about solar and wind is that once they’re built, the fuel keeps arriving, free. Of course, there isn’t much of a wind resource in our area. But there is in the mountain heights, and off the Virginia coast. And solar works fine here—I’ve had an off-grid system for ten years, works great.

By Mary Wildfire on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Yes, West Virginia spends a LOT of money on education.
But where does it go?  Is it wasted?  Down the drain hole of bureaucracy?

We spend 7th highest per student and what to show for it?
Being 49th or 50th in ratings?

By where does the money go? on 02.27.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Seeing the president of the WV AFT shaking his raised clinched fist in disrespect for the WV legislature tells it all.

WV’s teacher unions are allowed to function as separate branches of government with veto power over WV’s elected officials and their only role is to get more benefits for their members.

Where is the evidence that unions have done anything recently in any WV school system to help create an educational show piece? Can anyone cite an example?

Furthermore what have unions done to develop innovative plans for moving the State’s k-12 education system forward to pry us off our bottom rung rankings? The answer is—nothing exists. 

Conditions will not change for the better until the day our legislators quit pandering to unions to end k-12 decision-making driven by mob rule and raw emotions.

By Unions Failed WV's Children on 02.26.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The principal reason for opposition to 451 is fear by union chiefs that public charter schools could outshine performances of non-participating schools to embarrass WV’s entrenched K-12 education establishment.

To attempt to scare the public, there were claims that the underlying motive for opposition to charter schools is the sinister plan to privatize them to permit the rich and powerful to make money off education at the expense of WV’s children.

It is alarming that unions failed to propose comprehensive plans, inclusive of meaningful accountability mechanisms, designed to improve WV’s schools.

Their objective seems to be to protect the status quo instead of being effective partners in improving education for the State’s children.

There are examples in the USA where charter schools resulted in significant K-12 education improvements. Of course some failed.

Why is it irrational to establish a limited few charter schools in WV as demonstration projects to incorporate approaches applied in highly successful charter schools while avoiding mistakes of the schools that failed?

Nothing else has worked in getting WV out of being near the bottom with K-12 education quality—-so why continue with business as usual while expecting better outcomes?

By Unions Failed WV Education on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

If passed when will this take effect? I’m a single mother who has a drug felony from another state. I can’t get food stamps to help me because I a drug felon. I work so my income is to much for one person. I have a son whom him and I barley survive. Cause of my record. I’ve held the job I am at now for 5 years. But since they can’t use me. They use my income. But not me and doing it that way I make to much money.

By Kayla on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'Bill to Let Drug Felons Get Food Stamps Passes WV Senate'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

John & Family,  Sorry to hear of Nyla’s passing!  GOD will take care of you!!  GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU IN THIS SAD TIME !!!  RIP Nyla !

By Anita L. Adams - New Concord, Ohio on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Nyla Leah Frymier Poole'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“But Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said utility filings in those states now show the outlook has changed dramatically - in part because of competition from cheap, renewable energy.“

That is utter rubbish.  There is no “cheap, renewable energy.“  Solar and wind are more expensive, even taking subsidies into consideration.  Hydro is more expensive, nuclear is more expensive.

Claiming otherwise is at best fake news, and at worst deliberate misdirection and lying.  Merely claiming renewable energy is less expensive doesn’t make it so.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It was brought to my attention there was an article published in the Gilmer Free Press under Reader’s Comments dated 2-11-19.
This was written by Tammy White which many think it was me (Tammy Foster).  Twenty years (or more) “White” was my last name.
My son does take daily medication at the high school (which somehow this is quite a coincidence).  I want to clarify that I DID NOT write that article!
Now that I have straighten this out….. please read what I have say about this situation at Gilmer County High School:
The secretary or secretaries that were mentioned have never been rude to me or my son in person or by phone.  It is actually the opposite!  They are kind, caring, professional and thorough with distributing my son’s meds.
Not only do they make sure he gets the correct dosage daily but they keep a close inventory on the meds and call me when I need to restock them.
It broke my heart to read the negative article written last week and I was appalled my (old) name was on it.
My son and I trust and depend on these wonderful ladies.  We would like to take this opportunity to THANK them for taking excellent responsibility and care of our child and other students.

By Tammy Foster (not White) on 02.13.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I’m sorry for your loss.

By Danny Nicholson on 02.12.2019

From the entry: 'Vera Marlene Lyons'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There is some issues going on at GCHS. I’m starting here in Hope’s that it will be addressed and corrected.  The secretary was rude when I turned in medicine for my son to be taken on a daily basis. Nor is it her business why he takes it, or how often. Anyway, is she certified in giving meds out.  I thought that the school employed a nurse. Maybe she should answer the phone or should I say message on her cell. She had no idea how many I handed in she didnt count them. Talks about her co workers. Then she gets upset nobody talks to her. She is 2 face. Talking about them is very unprofessional.
I hope this is taken care of or my next step is to the state department. Your choice

By Tammy white on 02.11.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It is welcomed news as reported in the Democrat that Gilmer’s GCES students are making progress in learning math and English Learning Arts.

The principal, teachers, and all staff deserve high praise for the progress. Let’s not forget efforts of students too plus their parents who encourage them at home.

In addition to rates of increase for learning progress it would be helpful to be informed of percentages of students in the different grades who are at grade level for math and ELA.

Nothing was reported about learning progress at the GCHS and the LCES bi-county school. When are reports for those schools going to be given?

By Positive School News on 02.08.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The lights are up at the Linn school.
Often flashing nights and weekends when NO ONE is on school property.

And you expect lights to work….???
when the WVDE, the WVBE built the school with FIVE TOO MANY CLASSROOMS !!??

*** The WVBE is incapable of meaningful education.
Why do you think the WV Legislature created the current ‘education overhaul’ bill without consulting the WV State Board of Ed? ***

By you are joking I guess? on 02.07.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“The Environmental Protection Agency issued regular updates for about 100 water pollutants almost four years ago ... “

That would have been the Obama EPA, and the intention wasn’t to provide better water, it was an attempt to control business activity through the use of regulation.

In other words, a power-grab by a politician obsessed with it.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pay McGroyne on 02.06.2019

From the entry: 'One Charleston Manufacturer Pressing for Delay of Water Rules'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Would the County’s school board take action to help improve safety conditions at the LCES?

The way it is now it can be uncertain if children are present at the school to require a reduction of speed to 15 mph while on Rt. 33.

It would eliminate uncertainty if a flashing lights system were to be installed so the lights could be turned on when children are present.

By LCES Safety Concern on 01.31.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Why is it that on Gilmer County’s school system web site biographical information including education backgrounds for all school board members and their pictures are not posted?

Other counties have the information. Why not us?

By School Board Member Backgrounds? on 01.23.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The only reason for our not using a version of the goal-driven Kentucky method would be a veto by controlling elitists opposed to establishing meaningful accountability for Gilmer County’s school system.

Without using the method it would be easier to continue to pawn off information that cannot be used to accurately document progress with student proficiencies for reading, math, science, and college and career readiness.

By School System Accountability Needed on 01.20.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The KY approach would be valuable to Gilmer County for use in disclosing progress of our two schools in contributing to better lives for our children.

For goals for which progress would be off schedule, the tracking approach would be an objective basis for making mid-course adjustments in our school system to get better results.

By using the approach school board members could be more effective with goal-driven governing, and getting results would be the responsibility of the County’s Superintendent of Schools and school principals.

Overall,the approach would establish meaningful accountability which is sorely lacking in WV’s school systems.

By Establish School System Accountability on 01.18.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Accomplished communicators have a knack for reducing complex information to its simplest form for effectiveness in getting messages across.

WV’s convoluted strategic plans for schools must follow the State’s rigid guidelines. The plans are confusing and inadequately designed for establishing accountability for getting results.

Kentucky is making progress with improving K-12 education outcomes and one reason is the clarity of specific goals for its schools and the job being done with tracking results.

Google—-2018 Prichard Committee Update to glean what is being done in Kentucky. The approach could be used for Gilmer’s two schools with a single sheet of paper for each school.

The beauty of the Prichard approach is that instead of relying on confusing and lengthy written out material with undefined abbreviations, technical jargon, and head scratching generalities, specific goals and annual results in achieving them are presented graphically.

Perfect real world example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

Board of Education members why couldn’t the Prichard approach be used for Gilmer County? It would be inexpensive, it could be updated easily on an annual basis, and everyone in the County would know how the school system is being administered to achieve measurable results.

Perhaps Mr. David Ramezan could post Prichard material on the GFP to show its simplicity.

By Advocate For Clarity on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The scandal of the too small school?
Don’t forget…
The scandal of the too big school is half of the whole state intervention mess.  FIVE rooms more than needed at the Linn, Lewis County school.

Results are from nepotism, cronyism, and educational stupidity….as well as scoffing at those who attempted to sound the alarm.

Bloated egos was the frosting on the Litter Box Cake Mix.

By School Truth is in the Litter Box on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

During intervention the State had dictatorial control of our school system to include all decisions related to the GCES.

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

An investigation is needed to determine who was responsible for the bad decision, and what role the no-bid architectural firm had in designing and constructing the school.

Something major happened to cause the GCES to be built too small. Was something dropped at the expense of adequate class room space as a result of having to spend extra money because a poor site was selected?

Minimally, gross incompetency on the State’s part is the explanation for the disaster foisted onto the County.

A question pertains to the new gym. Lots of effort was taken by the State to try to convince the public that a competition gym instead of a regular gym was needed.

Did the competition gym cost extra money at the expense of needed classroom space? If the answer is affirmative who was responsible for deciding on the more expensive gym?

What about the enormous pit at the GCES? Was money spent on it at the expense of classrooms because something was wrong with the school’s site that was selected by the State?

Nothing similar to the pit has been seen at other sites where new WV schools were built.

Why has there been a failure for a thorough investigation to have occurred to expose the facts?

The obvious explanation is that powerful elitists in control do not want tracks leading to them, and they have veto power over a meaningful investigation including one done by a leading newspaper.

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Pat McGroyne is spot on.
High speed internet is simply another failure of WV state government.

If the elected in our state, were doing the job expected by voters….we should have very few problems or issues?

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Muddling has another distinct symptom. It is the tendency for administrators in control to emphasize processes and procedures while avoiding disclosure of progress, or the lack thereof, in achieving learning results.

The purpose is another way to avoid personal accountability for school system failures.

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

West Virginia is number one!
Our politicians are the best that can be had.
They are also the lobbyers dream come true.
No one—-can out-muddle our elected reps !

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Suggestion after reading strategic plans for the GCHS and the GCES.

How about the school board requiring that for each school an informative executive summary be written to include——where each school stands on reading, math, and science proficiency, what the term proficiency means to eliminate the confusion, student proficiency goals for the two school, target time to expect goals to be achieved, and a statement to commit to keeping the public informed of progress in achieving the goals at designated intervals (e.g. quarterly) during a school year.

Omit confusing abbreviations and technical terms understood only by a select few in the education field, and written for comprehension by reasonable persons.

Leave it up to the County’s professional educators to determine how to get the job done with continual laser-like focus on getting results.

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Muddling infects federal, state, and local government entities where personal accountability for top officials to get measurable results rarely exists.

Muddling practitioners are famous for passing off information unrelated to measurable proof that effective problem-solving has occurred. A common example is emphasizing how much public money is being spent to attempt to convince tax payers that magnitudes of expenditures are always directly correlated to levels of problem-solving successes.

Muddling by an organization is characterized by the existence of thick planning documents replete with vagueness and lack of clarity, undefined technical terms, and mysterious acronyms.

Muddling thrives on intentional ambiguity and confusion designed to protect muddlers and their organizations.

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Gilmer County is not the only place in the USA that has been faced with its students failing to meet proficiency standards for science, reading, and math.

The difference here is that evidence is lacking to conclusively demonstrate that Gilmer County’s officials in control have exerted proper efforts to profit form powerful lessons learned elsewhere to use that knowledge to help solve learning deficiencies in our schools.

In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the approach in the County has been the one professional planners designate as muddling through.

Classic symptoms of muddling through include failure to thoroughly analyze categories of causes contributing to problems followed up by using the information to develop a comprehensive plan to do the most good in getting better results by treating key causes instead of symptoms.

Muddling typically involves officials assigning blame for lack of progress to outside forces e.g., the “culture”, the State did it to us, and poverty. Haven’t we heard plenty of that?

Muddling must be eliminated if we want progress in solving non-performance problems within the County’s school system. Does anyone disagree?

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It is unclear after reading school board meeting minutes what progress if any is being made by GCHS and GCES principals in improving student proficiency in reading, math and science.

Why not allocate a few sentences in the minutes to summarize what the two principals reported to the school board?

All it would take to get the critical information out to citizens would be for the new school board to act on this.

Does anyone have a problem with the suggested change to keep Gilmer’s bill paying public informed?

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“High speed broadband – a necessity for today’s homes, businesses and other institutions – remains a huge unmet need for rural residents, despite promises by a succession of Governors from both parties (a contributing factor in why we’re losing population at a rate higher than any other state).“

I disagree with much of what Mr.Boggs believes.  That said, high-speed broadband is the single most important step the State of WV could take to improve the business climate and provide more opportunities for its citizens.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Conversation at local eatery.
Shortly after election.
Individuals were educators.

‘You think we have school problems now, wait until these new folks take the steering wheel’.

‘Students, parents, staff are all going to be in the soup’.

Sounds as if Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving vacation-deer season times have all taken a big hit.  If that is true, the union teachers need to come together, stand their ground, along with parents, and hold this new board accountable.

Have a local strike if need be.
Request resignations.
Vote of no confidence.

Schools employees can win.
You have done it before.
Just stick together.

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Scholarship must be the most important focus in Gilmer County’s schools.

Brought up the ZOOMWV Data Dashboard site to review the most recent State achievement test results for GCHS’s 11th grade.

Folks, Gilmer is in serious trouble. Proficiency for math=24%, reading=41%, and science=24%.

On an A through F grading scales the GCHS gets an F for all three subject areas.

What does the new school board have to show for inroads it has made since last July to make critically needed proficiency improvements at the HS? Citizens deserve answers to the question.

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

For 3 or 4 months now we keep hearing about the millions of dollars of tax revenue collected.

Millions and millions above ‘estimates’.  Were those ‘estimates’ honest, or fudged to begin with, so as to request higher tax rates?

Well, Justice and the Legislature now have our dollars, what will become of this windfall? Will we see tax rates lowered?  Doubt full, but we should.

Likely this windfall, created by “over-taxation”, will simply create a “party atmosphere” of legislative spending. Watch the Charleston ‘gangsters’ get their wish lists ready this coming session.

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

By Full accounting will never be revealed. Never. on 11.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Unprofessional issues,rude commentsand rolling eyes at the high school has become an issue. Being on cell phone talking to boyfriends,when parents etc.going into the office. Since the teachers were ask not to be on them while students in the classroom. The one in the office should not be allowed to talk personal to her boyfriend, or whoever. Also, I hope this is corrected, the personal days, etc that the board provides to staff shouldn’t be allowed to use to work or operate a second job. Let’s get the priorities straight.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

GULMER COUNTY BOE. It is time for me to let you know some issues that is going on at the High school.  I’m hoping this will be addressed at the next board meeting. 1. It should not matter if an employee has a second job or run a business. The priority job is for the board. One should not be allowed to use any time from the board to run your business. There is going on
If they want to run your business than go but not on the boards time. I would like for all employees be treated the equal. They should not be allowed to use the time the board gives them for other jobs.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

So sorry to hear of Kendall’s passing. I have fond memories of him at Uncle Paul’s store and the family reunions. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by those closest to him.
Please accept condolences from me and my family.

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Well thank you, Details Please,  for asking!  So many problems in Gilmer and education is just one.  Look at the town, take a good look around.  Remember who runs unopposed at election time.  Vote.  Make a difference.  Hold authority figures responsible.  Allow videos, minutes and more to be shared on GFP again, for transparency.  Know your neighbors, help a friend.  Be good to each other. Amen.

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I will truly miss my Uncle Stephen.  Telling me so much information about from gardening to canning. Just to listening to him talk with such passion for everything that he does… he had a sense of humor that always warms my heart.. listening to him play the banjo sometimes even when he didn’t feel good. he is always willing to share his recipes and his ways of doing things… his solar information he was always studying something ... I’m remember one time we asked him where he got his blackberries when it wasn’t Blackberry season and he go there’s a store down the road it’s called Walmart they have everything… He was so funny.  I love you.. xoxo.

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Sorry for your loss. He sure did look like his father.

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Reader 7, please give details for your suggested solutions to the County’s concerns you addressed.

The information would be helpful for consideration by school system administrators and the general public.

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There is speculation that the plan is for GSC to convert to an education center for low risk federal inmates. Is this something the County and central WV needs?

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Dr. Pellett’s commentary in the 10/26/2018 issue of the Gazette includes a statement that GSC is responsible for injecting $28,000,000 into the local economy.

If GSC were to close loss of the money would cause the County to have more severe poverty than it has now.

The pressing challenge is for GSC’s administrators including its Board of Governors to exercise effective leadership to prevent closure.

Why can’t GSC take action on the long standing suggestion for it to be an innovator by establishing a five year teacher education program to enable students to earn a masters degree by graduation time?

Something must be done in WV to deal with the 700 positions for which certified teachers including those for math, science and special education are not in the classrooms.

Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors why is a new teacher education program at the College not a viable option? Nothing else seems to be working.

The need exists, a similar program of excellence does not exist anywhere in the State, and GSC’s status would be elevated by having a masters degree program.

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

GSC could make a valuable contribution to WV by doing a study to report on how grade and elementary schools with excellent results in math and reading did it.

Then, other schools could use the information as guidance instead of going it alone to reinvent the wheel.

With the Ed.D. expertise at GSC it would be a natural to take on the assignment. Dr. Pellett, would you back the initiative?

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There is reference to signing an agreement with the State for math4life for all WV school districts. What has Gilmer County agreed to do to fix our problems?

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This important news has potential for making significant progress in improving math and reading outcomes in WV.

It hinges on how quickly advantage can be taken from lessons learned in schools that excelled.

The WVBE could do an analysis of reasons for excelling and to quickly provide guidance information to other schools.

That is the way the private sector approaches problem-solving because chronic failures have consequences and the unfit are weeded out.

Dr. O’Cull could help if the WVBE is not responsive. There could be panels of individuals from excelling schools to make presentations at WV School Board Association meetings to explain what their schools did to make the achievements.

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A characteristic of a good strategic plan is to simplify language to enable a clear understanding of all its details.

Regarding the comment about abbreviations, a simple fix for them and terms (e.g. lexile) would be to insert an asterisk or a footnote symbol the first time one of them is used to refer readers to a section at the end of the documents where the entries are defined.

This comment is not intended to be a criticism. All specialty fields have a language of their own including the teaching profession.

Suggested clarity improvements in the plans would not be time consuming for principals at the County’s two schools.

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Click on the map below to see the information on Free Press Readers
The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXIX The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved